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Priyanka Banerjee, Stephen H.M Brown, Samuel J. Howarth and Stuart M. McGill

The ProFitter 3-D Cross Trainer is a labile surface device used in the clinic and claimed to train spine stability. The purpose of this study was to quantify the spine mechanics (compression and shear forces and stability), together with muscle activation mechanics (surface electromyography) of the torso and hip, during three ProFitter exercises. Trunk muscle activity was relatively low while exercising on the device (<25%MVC). Gluteus medius activity was phasic with the horizontal sliding position, especially for an experienced participant. Sufficient spinal stability was achieved in all three exercise conditions. Peak spinal compression values were below 3400 N (maximum 3188 N) and peak shear values were correspondingly low (under 500 N). The exercises challenge whole-body dynamic balance while producing very conservative spine loads. The motion simultaneously integrates hip and torso muscles in a way that appears to ensure stabilizing motor patterns in the spine. This information will assist with clinical decision making about the utility of the device and exercise technique in rehabilitation and training programs.

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Laurie Y. Hung, Emmalee Maracle, John Z. Srbely and Stephen H.M. Brown

Evidence has shown that upper limb muscles peripheral to the cervical spine, such as the biceps brachii, can demonstrate functional deficits in the presence of chronic neck pain. However, few studies have examined how neck pain can affect the fatigability of upper limb muscles; therefore we were motivated to investigate the effects of acutely induced neuropathic neck pain on the fatigability of the biceps brachii muscle during isometric contraction to exhaustion. Topical capsaicin was used to induce neck pain in 11 healthy male participants. Surface EMG signals were recorded from the biceps brachii during an isometric elbow flexion fatigue task in which participants held a weight equivalent to 30% of their MVC until exhaustion. Two experimental sessions, one placebo and one capsaicin, were conducted separated by two days. EMG mean power frequency and average normalized activation values were calculated over the course of the fatigue task. In the presence of pain, there was no statistically significant effect on EMG parameters during fatigue of the biceps brachii. These results demonstrate that acutely induced neuropathic neck pain does not affect the fatigability, under the tested conditions, of the biceps brachii.